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Citibank SMRT Card Review 2018 – 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

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Joanne Poh

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You might think that SMRT is the source of all your problems, but that doesn’t mean you should refuse to sign up for the Citibank SMRT Card out of spite. Its name might make it sound like a glorified EZ-Link card, but it’s actually one of the better cashback credit cards available right now.

In fact, its benefits go beyond just MRT-related rebates. It’s one of the best cashback credit cards in Singapore with no minimum spend. Here’s what the Citi SMRT Card has to offer.

Citibank SMRT Card

Citibank SMRT Card


Card Benefits

    • Up to 5% savings on on Groceries. 4.7% (For transactions above $50. If transaction is $50 and below, 2.7% awarded instead) + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 5% savings on Fast Food, Movies & Coffee. 4.7% + 0.3% (if monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 3% savings on Online Shopping. 2.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 2% savings on Health & Beauty. 1.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300). Including GNC, Guardian, Nature's Farm, NTUC Unity Healthcare & Watson's
    • Up to 2% EZ-Reload Auto Top-up. 0.3% + 1.7% (If top-up more than $30. If $30 or less, 0.7% awarded instead)
    • Up to 5% savings for the following with monthly spend of at least $300. 5% at POPULAR Bookstores and Toys"R"Us, 5% at selected Town Councils for Service and Conservancy Charges, 1% savings on Telecommunication bills, 1% on selected Insurance providers, 1% on SPH Newspaper Subscriptions. If monthly spend is less than $300, SMRT$ earn rate will be 0.3% less.
    • Savings awarded in SMRT$. 1 SMRT$ = S$1 of vouchers. Vouchers available for Giant, Sheng Siong, Popular, Watsons, Shaw Theatres
    • 0.3% awarded on all other spend categories

     

    1. Up to 2% cashback on EZ-Link

    It’d be stupid if an “SMRT Card” didn’t give you decent rebates for taking the MRT, and EZ-Link is indeed one of the cash rebate categories on this card.

    When you get the card, it will automatically have EZ-Reload enabled on it. There’s no convenience fee for EZ-Reload auto top-up transactions, and you can get up to 1.7% or 2% (if you hit the min. spend of $300) in rebates. It’s not great lah, but we’ll take what we can get.

    Important note: The automatic top-up value is $30. You need to manually change the amount to $40 or $50 to get the maximum cashback of 1.7%/2%. To do so, you have to go to the MRT station to get them to cancel the EZ-Reload, wait a few days, and then reapply on the EZLink website.
     

    2. 5% cashback at Starbucks, McDonald’s, movies & more

    Do you eat fast food at McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Subway? Dine at Pizza Hut, PastaMania or Sakae Sushi? Drink kopi at Toast Box and BreadTalk?

    Does your idea of a nice evening out consist of coffee at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Coffee Club, Dome, Gloria Jean’s and TCC – followed by a movie at Cathay, Filmgarde, GV or Shaw?

    If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, congratulations, you’re just like 99.9999% of Singaporeans. The Citibank SMRT Card gives you 4.7% or 5% (if you hit the min. spend of $300) in rebates at these places.

     

    3. 5% to 7.3% cashback on groceries & bills

    For young families trying to stick to a budget, the Citibank SMRT card also works as an all-purpose cashback credit card. Surprisingly, it holds it own against the shinier competition.

    As long as you spend above $50 in one transaction, you get 4.7% to 5% cashback on groceries at NTUC FairPrice, Giant and Sheng Siong. The cashback goes up to a very impressive 7.3% at FairPrice Xtra Kallang Wave. (If you spend less than $50 in one receipt, the cash rebate goes down by 2%.)

    Should you need to pick up some toys and assessment books for Junior, it also gives you 4.7% to 5% cashback at Popular and Toys “R” Us.

    Finally, you also get a 4.7% to 5% cashback on recurring town council bills.

     

    4. 3% cashback on online shopping

    To round this long list of rebate categories, there’s also a small rebate on online shopping – 2.7% or 3% if you spend $300 and up that month.

    It’s one of the rare online shopping cash rebates without a minimum spend. (The only other one is the Standard Chartered Spree card, which loses out slightly – only 2% cashback on local online spending.)

    However, you shouldn’t use this card for travel. The cashback for online spending excludes flight and travel bookings and transportation services like car rental.

     

    5. New signups can get $150 vouchers / $120 cashback

    Finally – if you need a little extra convincing – there are also sign up promotions to get new to Citibank customers to sign up. Get this card through MoneySmart and you will get $150 in CapitaVouchers, no questions asked, no minimum spend. The offer expires 31 Jul 2018.

    If you missed it, there’s another promotion for new signups. Citibank will credit $20 back to your account for every month you spend at least $200, for up to the first 6 months of you having the card. That means you get a max. of $120 in cashback. Note that you can’t combine both promos, though.

    Also, if you refer a friend (who does not have any other Citibank cards) you can get $50 cashback when he signs up.
     

    The credit card for unpretentious Singaporeans

    By now, you should have noticed that many credit cards try to market themselves to the ambitious, aspirational middle class, promising that using that piece of plastic will make you look richer and more sophisticated. Many of these cards are also pretty much useless if you’re not dining at fancy restaurants or jetsetting every day.

    That’s where the Citibank SMRT Card differentiates itself.

    This is a card for people who’re more likely to grab a bite at McDonald’s or Subway than a Michelin-starred restaurant, who are more likely to grocery shop at NTUC or Sheng Siong than Cold Storage, and spend weekends watching movies rather than sipping on bespoke cocktails. And of course, it’s also a card for people who take public transport instead of driving a car.

    This makes it possibly one of the most practical cash back credit cards out there for cost-conscious Singaporeans looking to cut their expenses further, no matter the age.

    The main drawback is that it doesn’t really reward you for some of the more extravagant expenses in life. For instance, air tickets and hotel stays are conspicuously excluded from their cashback offer for online shopping, as are restaurant dining and entertainment.

    Alas, the cashback isn’t unlimited. It’s credited in SMRT$ and there’s a cap of $600 a year (average $50/month). It’s quite convenient to convert your SMRT$ to cashback though – you can redeem SMRT$ via SMS.

     

    Other credit cards for thrifty people

    There are some other cards on the market geared towards lower spenders who’re just looking to get a bit of cashback on their everyday expenses, such as the following.

    Maybank Family and Friends Card – This is another good one for grocery shopping as there’s a 5% rebate at NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage. You also get 5% rebate on bus and train rides, Grab, taxis and petrol, as well as fast food delivery from KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. There’s a higher minimum spend of $500 a month though. (And if you hit $1,000/month, your rebate goes up 8%.)

    UOB Delight Card – This is another good one for groceries (Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Guardian) and transportation – 8% cashback (min. spend $800/month) or 3% (min. spend $400). You also get 3% on contactless payments including bus, cabs, ERP and car park charges (min. spend $400). The obvious drawback is that cheaper supermarkets like FairPrice, Giant and Sheng Siong are not eligible for cashback.

    HSBC Visa Platinum CreditCard – Get  5% on recurring mobile, cable TV and internet bills, and either 5% (if you spend $800/month for all 3 months in a quarter) or 3% ($400/month for 3 months) on groceries and petrol.

    Frankly, though, the Citibank SMRT Card is probably still your best bet if you already live a low-key lifestyle and want to save even more money.

     

    Citibank SMRT Card minimum income

    Singaporeans and PRs: $30,000

    Foreigners: $42,000

     

    Citibank SMRT Card annual fee

    $192.60 (waived for first 2 years)

    Do you have the Citibank SMRT Card? Share your reviews in the comments!

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    Joanne Poh

    In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.